I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know

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Nothing worth doing is easy--and that includes loving a cop. Being a member of the law enforcement community is a source of pride for officers and families alike. It can also be a source of worry. Will police work change the person you love? Are police marriages destined to fail? What are the chances of your loved one being killed in the line of duty? Separating fact from myth, I address these and other critical questions. After working with police officers and their families for more than 30 years I know practical ways to deal with the challenges that come with the territory. Go behind the scenes with other police families as they discuss the benefits and pitfalls of police work; learn how to manage the effects of organizational stress and the pressures of unpredictable schedules, long hours, worry and loneliness; gain awareness of the emotional, physical, and behavioral warning signs which can lead to such extreme situations as posttraumatic stress, alcoholism, suicide and intiate partner abuse; find out where and when to go for help and counseling; and get an inside look at cop couples and the special challenges facing women, minorities, and gays and lesbians on the force.

"I Love a Cop" is used by hundreds of police academies, spousal academies, and departments around the country. Whether you read it from cover to cover or reach for it when problems arise, it is my hope "I Love a Cop" will be an indispensable tool that everyone in your family can depend on.

Praise for I Love a Cop

"Ellen, I can't thank you enough for everything you do to make sure my officers are safe.... Your book really is the first step to letting familes know how to love a cop….I now give out your book to every new law enforcement family that I swear in.... its the best thing I have done in years…." Chief Chris Dewey .

"I have been using I Love a Cop for the past 6 years, every semester, in the police stress class I teach at MNSU. The feedback from students who read your book is extremely positive, and those that give it to their parents, wives, significant others find it to be such an incredibly useful tool. Thank you for the work you do with Public Safety personnel all over the world. It is making a difference!" Christian W. Dobratz, Asst. Professor of Law Enforcement., Minnesota State Univ.

"I am a police wife (25 years next April) and my husband is the Assistant Chief of Police in Helena, Montana. We have bought your book and given it to new officers for many years (it also makes a great wedding present).... Everyone seems to appreciate the book and this tradition. I wanted to thank you." Barb Hagen.

"Thank you so much for your wonderful book "I Love a Cop". For the last two years I have been dating a police officer... If not for your book, I wouldn't begin to know how to navigate the challenges of our relationship….Your suggestions...are extremely helpful. You offer explanations for the cop's behavior but not excuses…."

"I'd like to say a special thank you to you for writing your book "I Love a Cop" it has truly helped me in my understanding of the job/​lifestyle my husband has taken on....I am the President of the FOP Auxiliary…. I am currently working on getting a copy of your book into each of my families hands…."


...I am the program coordinator for our department’s peer support team. We are re-launching our peer support program and I would like to send a copy of Dr. Kirschman’s book, I Love a Cop, along with our new program brochure to each employee in our department.... this book will be a great help to both new employees and their families.

I was asked to present a talk last night for a parent and spouse orientation .... I brought in my copy of I Love a Cop to show the class....The chief was in the room at the time and he stood up and said that he had read the book himself a few years ago.... In fact....he thought so highly of your work that he was willing to have the department pay to supply all of the course attendees with a copy....I've found the book to be an excellent resource and I know the course attendees will too."

"Everyone needs to read Ellen Kirschman's book I Love a Cop!" Buck Savage aka Dave Smith.

"Thank you so much for writing "I Love a Cop". I love the book and it has helped me so much in my relationship! I have referred it to several people whom all love it as well."

"Your book has already been a god send for me....The book has really helped me realize what both of us need to be prepared for in the future.... I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to you for writing this book. It has truely given me some very much needed information which has led me to gaining more confidence in myself and in our relationship...."

"We share information about your outstanding book, I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know, with our Field Training Officer and Supervisor students via PowerPoint presentation. I sure wish your book was around 42 years ago when I hit the beat! My wife and I made certain our Daughter-in-Law got a copy when our youngest son followed me into the family business." Bruce Sokolove, aka Coach Sok, Law Enforcement Consultant.

"I just wanted to thank you for this book. I was given this book by my police Chaplin and my wife and I read it. This book helped my wife understand why I do things at home and what I have to deal with at work that nobody outside of law enforcement knows about or understands. Being in law enforcement for over twenty years...there were parts of the book that even made me understand about how I react to things while working and at home. I highly recommend this book to all law enforcement families whether new officers, newly married officers or officers that have been working for years."

"I write this e-mail because my wife just left me....We have attended counseling sessions....but we were unable to locate the cause of my anger. I purchased your book....on a whim as I did not think work could have been the cause. I was wrong. Your work has helped to save me....I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you have done. I have a long path to take until I am finished, but for the first time in years, I feel as though the sun is shining and that I there is hope for me."

"I recommend this book to all police families to be read and referenced throughout their law enforcement journey. The clear and concise chapters in I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know are intriguing and the insight that the discussions have to offer spouses is phenomenal. Use this book as a gift for a friend, use it as a guide for yourself, and most of all, use it as a handbook for the tough yet rewarding career in law enforcement." BlueBadgeDispatch.com.

"I just finished your book, I Love a Cop, and thought it was right on target. I am a 20+ year veteran police officer’s wife who has also worked in law enforcement.... I love the Family Care Package idea and am working with our deputy’s association on funding a copy of your book for each cadet."

"I have been using I Love a Cop in my graduate course, the Culture of Law Enforcement. Your book is very popular with the students, particularly with cops." Steven A. Egger, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Houston.

"I received your book after my husband retired.... the book was very enlightening and wished I had had it to refer to from the beginning of my life with my police officer husband."

"I have to tell you, I love your book...I am currently assigned to...the 'Employee Services Unit' - a full time Peer Support Unit. We are looking into buying several of your books... to provide to our employees."

"Thanks for I LOVE A COP. It changed my life forever and made me a better Deputy Sheriff, Father and person. I recommend I LOVE A COP to any law enforcement colleague I talk to who might have family issues, stress, or personal problems on and off the job. I tell them my story and how your book helped me during my divorce so I didn't become a casuality on the job or off...I think all officers... would benefit from your tremendous knowledge, insight, and observations that police officers can use to overcome the psychological hazards of the job for the benefit of themselves, their families, and their departments...Thank you so much for all that you do, and what you have done for me."

"I have so enjoyed your book. I know it has blessed many spouses." Tacoma Police Family Association.

" I purchased your book a few years ago. My husband is a police officer and I have recently started a spousal support group for law enforcement families... Thanks so much for writing the book and for your help."

"I first read your book years ago and have since recommended it for all of our newly hired officers plus those I speak to in the police academy....Your work will help keep cop-families together."

"...These [book] reviews [are] a huge, well deserved 'standing ovation' for one of the best books out there on the police experience. I've promoted it every chance I've had and I put you among the top authors in the field. I've gotten puzzled looks from cops and applicants asking for a good book on police work--the title throws them until I tell them it's a 'must read' for anyone even remotely associated with law enforcement." Andy O'Hara, Badge of Life.

"I want you to know I love your book, and will ensure [that] if I ever get married again, [my wife-to-be will] read this book first."

"I just finished reading "I Love A Cop" for the second time. Thank you for all of the hard work and insight that went into providing such a wonderful resource for wives."

"I have read your book numerous times during the course of my career as a police officer and found it to be an excellent resource."

"This book is as necessary for the overall survivial of our law enforcement officers as their vests and safety tactics. The realities of the job have changed in the post-9/​ 11 world, and the revised edition arrives just in time." Kevin Gilmartin, Ph.D. author of Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement.

"I cannot tell you how helpful your book is... My cop and I read it out loud to each other and I also read it with my parents and discussed pretty much each paragraph."

"....It's clear that you have captured the essence and of and issues about the profession." Ralph Mroz, Peace Officers Safety Association.

"As an Employee Assistance Counselor working with first responders I frequently refer family members to your book " I Love A Cop" (revised) and am grateful for the resource."

"I'm the Treasurer of my Police Union...your book provides a powerful message for those persons who are currently police officers and their respective families..."

"I first read I Love a Cop in 1998/​ 1999. I have read it at least 3 times and often dust it off when troubled.... I have found that your book often gives vocabularly to my experience and have found comfort and validation with it. Thank you for having the passion to provide support to such a needy population."

"Helpful and right on point."

"Wish I had read something like this 35 years ago!!!! Great book." Jimmy Smith, Host "Let's Talk Justice, America."

"I recently read your book, “I Love a Cop” and I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I am a cop and I happen to love one also...."

"I've read your book and it has helped me enormously with my boyfriend! I think your book is amazing and I'm so glad I found it! ...."

" I have read [I Love a Cop] at least 3 times and often dust it off when troubled....your book often gives vocabularly to my experience and I have found comfort and validation with it. Thank you for having the passion to provide support to such a needy population. I wish that all police academies mandated that your book be read by recruits and spouses."

"I currently teach a Police Stress course to 45 undergraduate law enforcement students and your text is required reading material for the class. I just wanted to say thank you for all of your work and for writing such a wonderful book and textbook. After working as a police officer for 18 years, I can personally identify with almost every facet of your book....I believe this book can save marriages, families, and lives. Police stress is too overlooked in our society and I am so grateful for people like you who choose to address it!"

"I recently discovered your book...I love it! It is exactly what I have been looking for...My boyfriend is in the academy and your book assures me that our problems are so text-book and common....Thank you for your time and your help."

"I am a state trooper who recently read your book....I consider it to be quite possibly my 'bible' as it is the most applicable body of work I have encountered...."

"It can really open your eyes to what friends or loved ones are going through, and feeling...If you are looking for a way to understand the law enforcement officers psyche better, this book is it." Rebecca Bilbrey, Cops Wives website

"Masterful....A survivial manual for those who choose policing as their life work....This is an important book to read for young people who are contemplating a police career." Criminal Justice Review

"This should be required reading for all recruits and their families." Capt. Al Benner (ret.), Ph.D. 30-year veteran, San Francisco Police.

"When I was Police Chief in Toronto, every graduating police officer received a copy of "I Love a Cop." This is a 'must read' for all progressive police leaders who really care about officers and their families." David Boothby, Chief of Police (ret.) Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

"I am married to a police officer who was in a critical incident...I have searched for books on the impact an incident such as this has on a family and on the spouse....The best information I found was in your book. It helped me to realize my feelings aren't uncommon." A.P.

"We are huge supporters of your book and recommend it often! I know it has helped me out so many times....a great reference tool when I forget the basics of being a police wife." Rose Winnick, President & CEO of Wives Behind the Badge. 2008

"I am the Recruit Unit Commander for the Atlanta Police Department. Your book is being incorporated in the Family Night event at the Atlanta Police Academy." Lt. Hudson-Baker (2008).

"I am only through Chapter 4 of your book and I have found it so incredibly insightful and helpful. I have used a lot of the tips that you describe. Thank you for your wonderful book." (2008)

"I really like your books, 'I Love A Cop" and "I Love a Firefighter" - they sure fill a gap in the resources for these families!" Michelle D. Sherman, Ph.D. Family Mental Health Program, Oklahoma City VA Medical Center and University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2008.

"I finished your book recently and found it to be one of the best presentations of the police family I have read. Very easy to read and understandable. I am planning to incorporate it into my Role of Police in Modern Society class. I have been teaching CJ for 15 years and been in LE for 20 years." Michael Barrett, Asst. Professor Criminal Justice, Ashland university, Ohio, 2008.

"Your book has helped all of us [in the wives' seminar] thru numerous times in our lives. [It] gave some of the new officers' wives (even reminded the seasoned wives) a head start...They will be able to remember and draw on that information as they need it. I find myself going back and re-reading chapters I skimmed before, because they did not apply at the time but now I need some insight about." N.S. 2008

"I Love a Cop was extremely insightful and helped me understand certain behaviors of my husband. I recommended it be given out to our Sheriff's Department Family Academy...now each class...receives a copy." A.R. 2008

"Your book is terrific - our Chief has made sure that several of them are in each of our stations. It is very down to earth without jargon! I found it helpful - even for a civilian like myself. I have promoted the book whenever possible. And plan to include it at our upcoming Family Orientation Night for new members." L.W. 2008

"I am the wife of a disabled police officer...I purchased your book the year he had to retire hoping it would give me some insight...I wish your book had been available while he was in the academy. I found it extremely accurate and helpful. You have made a positive difference in many law enforcement lives...words cannot express how grateful I am." A.S. 2007

"I am a police officer and training instructor...I have read and recommended your book. [Now] I would like to make it available to each new officer and [his/​ her] spouse as part of a pre-deployment stress management curriculum." R.G. 2007

"I just finished reading 'I Love a Cop'. It has opened my eyes to the everyday pressure that law enforcement jobs create on people and their famiies....I wish I would have read your book months ago. Thank you for giving me a different outlook, a better understanding of my boyfriend's job, and [the courage] to not surrender my own identity." K.D. 2007

"...In 1977 I was a member of the first 'I Love a Cop' class. It was a great class and gave those who attended a better understanding of the stresses place on police families....fast forward to 2007 - I am now the proud mother of a [sheriff's deputy]. I just finished attending their family academy where we were given copies of your book....Thank you for continuing to provide advice to families of peace officers. It's a hard life...and everyone needs some advice from time to time. L.K. 2007

"I just wanted to say Thank you! for dedicating your life to this cause. I got the book in the mail today and have read several chapters; it's good to know I'm not the only one having these feelings!! I love being a cop's wife, but it does have its challenges. May God bless you as you continue your work!" 2007

" I am an officer and I read this book prior to getting on with my department and have picked it up numerous times in the past year. It is an AWESOME book! It has been my Bible!" 2007


"I accidentally found your book "I Love a Cop". It soon became my bible, and I quickly purchased more copies for our extended family, so they, too, would be able to understand...I am carrying your book everywhere with me these days...You are my guardian angel..." J.R. (2007)

"I just purchased I Love a Cop for my wife and I found myself reading it first. It has opened some doors and feelings that I had closed and let me know I was not alone....Thank you for opening my eyes. I have enjoyed reading your book and sharing the stories with my family so that they may understand what we go through and how we can help each other." C.C.

"I've been a police officer for six years. My wife stumbled across your book and invited me to read it with her. I declined [at first] because I knew everything. Ha! She offered again and I took her up on it. WOW!!!There are so many things you are right about. I really enjoyed reading it....Thanks for taking the time to publish such a great book." K.K.

"I've been using Ellen Kirschman's 'I Love A Cop' since its first printing. She may have written it with police families in mind, but it's indispensable for mystery writers, especially those of us 'civilians' who create characters in law enforcement." Camille Minichino, author of the periodic table mystery series.

"Thought you ought to know, I am still receiving many, many compliments from students in my community relations classes about your book. Both criminal justice and non-criminal justice students...all like the book. The bookstore [says] it is one of the few books they rarely buy back." Mike Grabowski, police officer (retired) and instructor, Santa Rosa College Administration of Justice Department.

"I was totally impressed...you have captured the true essence of the job...Your advice holds true for all those in high stress, high engagement, high devotion jobs. Thanks for your work. I have benefitted from it." Christopher H.

"I Love a Cop is 'must' reading for police recruits, police officers and their family members. Dr. Kirschman's grasp, understanding, and description of how police work provides unique challenges to the officer and the law enforcement family is grounded in years of experience helping police officers and their families through issues and problems commonly encountered in police work. She not only identifies law enforcement career problems, but also offers simple and practical ways to prevent or remedy potential adverse effects of police work on the officer and family."--Gary Kaufmann, PsyD, Chief Police Psychologist (ret.), Behavior Science Section, Michigan Department of State Police.

"I can't believe there is finally a training manual on how to survive in a law enforcement family. I wish this book had been available 20 years ago when I first started speaking to spouses about having a family member in law enforcement. This book is not only for the family, but for the officer as well. Reading this book could very well save a few police marriages, help the police officer and family cope through the various stages of the profession, as well as helping those planning on marrying into this calling know what is ahead. It would also be a tremendous help to those in law enforcement support groups as we struggle to understand the cop in our lives and be there for the new spouse or family member that doesn't yet understand. I feel this book is a must for the law enforcement officer as well as their family." --Karen Lippe, President, Grand Lodge Auxiliary, Fraternal Order of Police

"I consider reading Ellen Kirschman's I Love a Cop a necessary prerequisite for any clinician who comes into contact with those who work in law enforcement or their families. This should be required reading for all recruits and their families." --Lieutenant Al Benner, Ph.D., 30-year veteran, San Francisco Police Department

"This excellent book, packed with helpful information, and specific examples, is written for police families, and is also invaluable for mental health professionals working with them. Beautifully written and very absorbing to read, this book is focused on the psychological and emotional aspects of police work, and the ways in which these stresses impact family life. On every page Dr. Kirschman demonstrates a sensitive understanding of the men, women, and families involved in a public service career of almost overwhelming difficulty. I Love A Cop is a gift of inestimable value to the families themselves, and to the mental health professionals who are attempting to understand and help them." --Emily B. Visher, Ph.D. and John S. Visher, M.D., Cofounders, Stepfamily Association of America

"I Love A Cop should be required reading for all police recruits and their families. Dr. Kirschman has presented in a clear manner the issues facing police officers today - both on the job and at home. By openly discussing police family violence and the discrimination faced by women and minorities on the job, she has pushed aside the veil of secrecy that so often descends over these issues. And, best of all, she offers constructive steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of stress on police officers and their families." --Chief Penny Harrington, Director, National Center for Women and Policing

"Ellen has presented all the information I gathered in 21 years as a police officer's spouse. Now police spouses can have the advantage of knowing and understanding the stresses of police life before they experience it through the job. Living with a cop and not understanding what he or she goes through is like riding rapids down the Arkansas River without a raft. This book provides a life raft for police families to help them understand the profession. This book gives clear understanding of the police profession to help families cope with the toughest people job in the world. The law enforcement profession affords families a wonderful way of life, but it is a way of life and this book explains it all so well. Where were you Ellen Kirschman from 1970-1992? This book is long overdue!" --Suzie Sawyer, Executive Director, Concerns of Police Survivors.

"I Love A Cop is an impressive synthesis of relevant information within a context of empathic, experiential vignettes. Dr. Kirschman's book will be an invaluable tool for the Metro-Dade Police Department, both for training purposes with recruits and in-service officers, as well as a resource for my marital and couples patients."--Scott W. Allen, PhD, Staff Psychologist, Metro-Dade Police Department, Florida

"Not just theory, the stories she relates are drawn from the actual files of police psychologists from throughout the country. The entire book can be either read straight through from cover to cover or used as a handy manual by selecting specific chapters that apply to each individual's own specific problem or problems. ...easy-to-read. The book would make an excellent gift to any individual with a family member or loved one who is working in law enforcement. Highly recommended." --Fred R. Egloff, Law Enforcement Memorial Association, Spring '97.

"Dr Kirschman accurately and insightfully breaks down many of the hurdles and mysteries to surviving on the front lines. Police officers have been written about in droves, but this is the first book that is aimed at their families. Surviving the streets is one thing, surviving the home front is quite another, and it's about time someone wrote this." A. Haukaup